Yep, I said it, I am a better golf coach than Butch Harmon. I don’t want anyone’s head to explode, so let me explain. I am a better golf coach than Butch Harmon… for my own swing.
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I, Aaron Stewart and that better golf coach than Butch Harmon. How does that make you feel? You hit me yet. Let’s tee it up.
Welcome to Data Axis Golf, your home for rapid golf improvement. And now, from the thin air of a Rocky Mountains. Next on the number one tee. Your host Aaron Stewart.
Everyone, welcome to another episode of Data Axis Golf. Thanks for being here. A Tuesday. As we move into our week. Good Day. I just got a text from our club that the Front Nine was opening today only for walking but still it seems like spring is upon us. Looks like the weather says we’re going to get a little bit more snow later on. But as of today, there is golf to be played. And they even mentioned that maybe even fully team tomorrow. So that’s pretty exciting. I will not be playing golf. I’ve got another really cool announcement. Starting Monday, I will be working with a local professor here in town who teaches up at Utah Valley University, up in Orem, just north of here. He is a biomechanics expert and studies biomechanics and has a golf lab setup. And so we’re going to start working together on a lot of different projects and consulting back and forth and looking at a lot of different things and trying out a lot of different techniques and technologies. And I think it’s going to be a really good time. So I’m looking forward to that. We start on Monday. And the premise behind this is I have done very little over the winter, still sort of healing and try to be careful with this wrist. I think it’s in pretty good shape. But we’re going to find out pretty quickly on Monday. So we’re going to go get all my starting numbers for spring golf with the equipment up there. I believe the TrackMan and some different things going on. And and then we’re going to just kind of see how it goes. We’re going to compare a lot of different technologies with TrackMan with whatever else he’s got up there. And it’s going to be really good to have somebody who regularly appears on the show and helps us sort of understand how our bodies work and what we can do to be more effective and efficient golfers. So I’m really looking forward to that. I think that’s going to be a huge benefit to the show. And it’s going to help all of us understand a lot more about how things work, which as you know, better data always means better golf around here. So this is going to be access to a lot of really cool data.
All right. So to the topic of today’s show, where I stated I am a better golf coach than Butch Harmon. And I know that’s going to make a lot of people uncomfortable. No offense to Butch Harmon and all, I’m sure he’s a wonderful golf coach. People say he’s the number one golf coach in the world. Let alone probably for sure in the country but in the world. He’s got, you know, he’s got, Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson. I mean he’s got a pretty good crew, right? He coaches and he’s done a lot of good things with them. I don’t know necessarily other than what he shares sometimes in Golf Digest or golf magazine. I really don’t know a whole lot about Butch and how he coaches or anything like that but I am simply saying that all of us. And it goes back to this premise, it goes back to feel. There is no way for us to communicate one to another how something feels and to accurately, 100%, communicate that one to one another always. Language is a very poor method of communication when we’re trying to discuss how certain things feel and so it doesn’t work very well. So when it comes to me being a better golf coach, I mean I don’t want anybody jumping off a ledge or anything. I am a better golf coach than Butch Harmon to me. Okay? And hopefully, when we use technology, we get to understand our golf swings and what they are. We all should be the very best golf coaches for ourselves. And then using a third party coach then becomes more of a place to bounce ideas off of and to discuss different techniques and challenges and maybe have a different set of eyeballs looking at the feedback that we’re getting from the technology and kind of figure it out maybe some things that we should be working on.
So I learned pretty quickly though, again, Fred Shoemaker is the most amazing golf coach on planet Earth right now, as far as I’m concerned, just because he’s so good at this, and he’s an incredible player himself. But he understood when I started working with him, he understood very, very well. And I think it’s because he’s worked with so many people. That there was no way for him to communicate to me how something felt, how something occurred for him, and that I was going to have to do the work and then feel what it felt like to me, to get anywhere with my golf game. And so that’s where his coaching really kind of comes in and works. And Fred Shoemaker is all about making sure that we become our best coaches for our own games. And that I think that’s something that you have to pay attention to when you’re out looking for a golf coach and you’re trying to find one that works for you. When you’re working with them, pay attention to what they’re saying. If they’re telling you that you have to be in certain spots and do certain things, and they really aren’t asking you how that felt and what you are experiencing, then I think that you’ve got yourself a probably a golf coach. It isn’t seasoned enough to really help you get anywhere long term. They might be able to give you a few tips here and there that might be able to help you in the short term. And maybe they can help you with a couple of really simple things as far as setup and stuff go. You know, with a set of eyeballs, if you’re not doing any videoing of your own golf swing, then yeah, they could probably help you with stuff like that. But as far as making long term gains in your golf game, these types of coaches aren’t going to help. If we can’t figure out, if we can’t become very very sure on what we’re doing, what we’re experiencing and what is actually going on, if those don’t match up, it’s very difficult to get better at golf.
But the cool thing about where we are now with technology and with feedback whether it be TrackMan, SwingBy or Blast or whatever it is that you’re using, SkyGolf, whatever there’s a zillion of them out there. Even that what is that Zap, remember that old one? I think Michelle way or something was pushing for a while. Zap whatever I think they were taken over by another group. Anyway, whatever it is that’s giving you feedback, what you’re experiencing starts to match up, what the technology, the feedback is telling you what’s going on. As soon as those matchups, then you can rapidly prove golf and a whole bunch of stuff. What we are experiencing and what is actually going on a matchup, the sky’s the limit. It just goes crazy from there and you’ll make amazing gains in your golf game once those two matches up. So we need golf coaches to help us get to that point. Now, I do believe that initially, I think Fred Shoemaker is maybe the only guy on the planet that I would consider to be maybe a better golf coach for me than I am, and it’s just because he knows my game so well. And we’ve had so many long discussions and he’s so brilliant, that’s a whole another thing. But for me, I know my golf game very, very well. I know my golf swing very well. I know what the real feels are and the fake feels are based on all the work I’ve done with. For me, primarily the SwingBy then some TrackMan work and stuff, but the SwingBy, that’s really what’s helped me learn my swing and what feels are and what is real and what isn’t.
When you work with the Fred Shoemaker, a coach like Fred Shoemaker and I discussed this before when Fred was telling me what it feels like at the top of his backswing when the club is “laid off”. Then he would actually get into that position and I would actually stick my hand up and kind of get it into the place where he’s at, and kind of feel, okay, that’s what feels “laid off” to Fred. But that is not what felt “laid off” to me. To me, it felt very upright. Okay. So it’s really cool to kind of go through and figure out what Fred was feeling and experience in his golf swing versus what I was feeling in my golf swing, and realize that those were very different experiences for both of us. And the definitions that we were putting on those experiences were, they’re very different for us. And he showed me how it feels for his impact. And it felt very different for me, where his you know, where his lead hand is an impact. Well, that’s not where my lead hand was an impact. And so I had to learn different feels that way to make that happen. When I thought I was doing what Fred was trying to show me it didn’t feel the same way at all. But when Fred was able to kind of grab on, you know, his right hand and my left hand and show me what that felt like.
Okay, made all the difference in the world for me, because then I understood that feel and what that feels meant to me. And I was able to internalize that. So hopefully that makes sense. There is no way that Butch Harmon can walk up to me and tell me, “Hey upright should feel this way to you”. Bullcrap! He has no idea what upright feels to me. Butch Harmon has no idea what “laid off” feels to me. He has no idea what a hook feels like to me or fade feels like to me. Nothing! Are there some general feels that are probably the same? I guess. But there’s no way for him to communicate more accurately to me how any of those shots, any of those positions feel like to someone who’s experienced them and they have been able to identify what those actually are. So I know what “laid off” feels like. I know what upright feels like and flat feels like. I know what it feels like to come from the inside and the outside and create different shots.
I’ve experienced that in myself with technology and feedback long enough to know that I’ve got those things. And we all can get those things by using technology. And that’s the beauty of it. Back in the day, they didn’t have this opportunity. So getting good at golf, even five years ago, was a nightmare. And I started my journey of trying to get good at golf with Fred Shoemaker and he worked so hard to help me to get anywhere. But the difference now is beautiful. So I share a story with you real quick. So a number of years ago, I was able to pull off. See back in 2013, I won the Club Championship at Entrada and this was a period of time, so I’m talking this is five years ago, right? A little over five years ago. I was working with Brett Shoemaker. My game had gotten better. I had been playing okay, but struggling a little bit. I happened to figure out a few things that were working for me. And I went out and played in this club championship. It was not an easy Championship at all. But I had like a three-stroke lead. Standing on the 17th key. I ended up parring 17 and standing up on a team with a three-stroke lead still. I rip the driver but I remember standing up on that on the tee on the 18th tee, scared to death. It’s an elevated tee, the fairways fairly narrow, but I took out my driver and I just absolutely likes to run right down the middle. Perfect. I felt so good. But I had no idea what was going on in my golf swing. I just focused on a target and let it go.
And it worked out for me. Well, I got down there and the guy I was playing with he was the previous year’s champion said to me “Hit a good shot so we can put this thing behind us and I don’t have to worry about it anymore”. I’m like that’s a weird thing to say. I stood up to the shot I felt super uncomfortable. I was having a very hard time picturing the target and staying present. It was all over my head with lots of negative talk going on. And I absolutely chunk this thing dead left behind a tree short of the green and this guy and playing with knocked it right up on the green. I then proceeded to chuck the next one and almost missed the ball. Okay so now I am completely freaking out. This guy gets up there and roles in his pocket for birdie. I mean he’s up there so tight that I know it’s a kick-in birdie, so he’s got a three. So now I’m laying there about to hit four and I’m still behind a tree. I don’t know what I’m going to do. So I proceed to hit one again and I totally ditched it again. Now I’ve got to get up and down for two just to tie this guy. I ended up hitting a totally missed bladed shot he hit into the bank, bounced up, went up and got to a foot and I made the putt. Totally lucky. I didn’t deserve it. Nothing but I ended up taking a triple bogey, a double bogey, and tying this guy so we went to sudden death. On the first hole of sudden death. I hit one way right into the crap into the dirt and now we’ve got a big group following us. We’ve got sudden death. So we’ve got 2025 cards now following us which doesn’t help matters at all. And I’ve now blocked when dead right into the garbage. It’s found by one of the members out there. It’s in the dirt but it’s a tough shot. I’ve got to go through some bushes. I’ve got a cactus on my backside that I’ve got to be careful of. And I hit a really decent shot just because I was so worried about everything else and try and get the ball up fast enough to make it on a degree. I hit it to about 10 feet. The guy was playing with a struggle a little bit. He ended up three-putting. I just had to put and I won the championship.
Okay, so done. Right? Yeah, I felt crappy. I felt horrible that the last two holes I played sucked. I was terrible. And this trophy means very little to me because I played so poorly. And the problem with playing so poorly is that I had no idea why. I had no clue what my golf swing was doing during that period. And I hated that. And yet I was working with one of the greatest golf minds in the world. And I was doing the best I could to try to get good at golf. But the problem that I had is, I still didn’t know what I was doing, what I thought I was doing, and what I was actually doing was still totally a quite a bit apart. So I was not playing why and mixed messages in my golf swing. And I was not playing well consistently. So what happens obviously I don’t know, this was the weirdest thing in the world. The next week, I went and shot like four or five straight 80s, mid-80s. I was terrible. I was shooting, you know, around par for the club championship. Now I’m shooting in the 80s my games gone to crap. I have no idea what’s going on. I send some videos to Fred. He sends them back. We start discussing, you know, work it through. It’s a disaster. It’s about that time and I came across the swing by and started working with technology and realized that my swing what I thought was happening to my golf swing and what was actually happening to my golf swing we’re way off and then I was able to start chipping away at that. So now when I step on a golf course and now any of you who work with technology, you understand now when you step on a golf course, you have complete confidence that you know what your golf swings doing. And you fully expect us what the fairway, that is a much more enjoyable place to play.
Then even when you eat out a club championship, it’s two totally different experiences. I would never want to relive that club championship again. And the frustration, and the confusion that I felt, it was disheartening. It was awful. It was a bad experience. We’re playing golf now because it can be so fun and so freeing because there’s none of that frustration or wondering what’s going on with my golf swing. And that’s the beauty of feedback. That’s where we are in the world of golf right now. It is amazing to live at this day and age. I wish this come out when I was 12. There are so many players that are going to be so well because of technology, because of the feedback that they have. Or golf is just going to be second nature then it’s just going to be like walking because the feedback is instant. And the more instant the feedback gets and the more accurate the feedback gets, the better we will become and the quicker we will be able to get better. And that’s the beauty of all of this.
So, am I a better golf coach than Butch Harmon for everybody? No, absolutely not. But I am a better golf coach for me, no question about it. I am a better golf coach than Butch Harmon when it comes to my game, and the only one who’s probably better than I am, for my game is Fred Shoemaker. And that’s it. So anyway, that’s the show for today. Definitely get ready to embrace technology. I’m excited about this work that we’re going to be doing with Dr. Stanford. It’s going to be totally fun and interesting to break it all down and compare different technologies and see real research results and how that affects our golf swings going to be completely fascinating. I think so. Until next time, better data means better golf. Thanks.
Thanks for listening to get into accidents go with Aaron Stewart’s check us out online at dataaxisgolf.com and we’ll see you on the next episode.